Monday, January 29, 2018

"Coaching for Christ"

Friends - please please PLEASE share this with everyone you know, PARTICULARLY any coaches you know out there!

There are some GREAT free resources for pastors, athletic directors, principals, etc. to help their coaches GROW as coaches for Christ.

CLICK HERE for lots of FREE resources

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Archbishop Buechlein Funeral Arrangements

TuesdayJanuary 30 - (All times for this location are Eastern Time.)

8:30 a.m. Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral Doors Open
9:00 a.m. Rite of Reception (Open to the Public) 
9:30 to 6:30 p.m. Visitation (Open to the Public) 
7:00 p.m. Solemn Evening Prayer (Open to the Public) 
8:00 to 9:00 p.m.  Visitation (Open to the Public) 
9:00 p.m. Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral Doors Close

Wednesday, January 31

9:00 a.m. Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral Doors Open
9:00 to 10:45 a.m. Visitation (Open to the Public) 
11 a.m. Funeral Mass (Open to the Public)

Immediately following the Funeral Mass, a luncheon will be provided in the Assembly Hall of the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center, 1400 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

~Transferal of the Body to Saint Meinrad Archabbey~
Location: Saint Meinrad Archabbey, 200 Hill DriveSt. Meinrad, IN 47577
Wednesday, January 31 (cont.) - (All times for this location are Central Time.)
7:00 p.m. Office of the Dead (Open to the Public)
8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Visitation (Open to the Public) 

Thursday, February 1

8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Visitation (Open to the Public) 
10:00 a.m. Mass for a Deceased Bishop (Open to the Public)

Immediately following the Mass, the Committal Service will take place at the Archabbey Cemetery. Per the Archbishop’s wishes, he will be buried in the cemetery of the monastic community. A buffet lunch will be provided following the burial.  (Open to the Public)

Archbishop Buechlein, RIP

"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek" - Psalm 110:4

Requiescat in Pace

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, OSB
April 20th, 1938 - January 25th, 2018

STOP chasing conversion experiences

Daily Mass homily for the conversion of St. Paul

I've worked with a lot of people who have had very similar conversion experiences to St. Paul, and still quit

Conversion experiences do not get you into Heaven.  Picking up your cross daily and following Christ, through God's grace, gets you into Heaven.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Family Math

A set of parents who have 2 children who marry and each have 2 children is a nexus of 10 relationships

A set of parents who have 6 children who each marry and have six children is a nexus of 1,225 relationships

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Homily: "The power of your story to fish people out of darkness"

My homilies are now also available via podcast

Click HERE to follow on Podbean

You can also follow my podcast via iTunes by clicking HERE

Friday, January 19, 2018

Catholic Man Show

It was great to be a guest on this week's "The Catholic Man Show"

We talked sports, virtue, the NFL, and much more

Click HERE to listen to the episode

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Thanks to the Indianapolis Star

The Indianapolis Star did a really aweome article on our "Coaching for Christ" project! 

Please take a moment and click HERE to read it!

please pray as it comes out on January 29th!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Homily on Humanae Vitae in 2018

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  ..the immoral person sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you… Therefore glorify God in your body.”

As every scripture scholar acknowledges, St. Paul is here warning the Corinthians about a particular type of sin – sexual immorality that was so rampant at the time in Corinth

I read an article this week not even preparing for this homily, but it ended up talking about how this letter from Paul to the Corinthians that we have this weekend was the FIRST sexual revolution – a preaching to Corinth a way of viewing sexuality which would have been almost completely foreign to them and the rest of the world

There is a certain basic reality that St. Paul is speaking to that makes Catholicism unique in so many ways – the idea that each of us have a body and a soul and that our bodies and souls are not a ghost and a machine

Virtually no one else holds the classic Catholic understanding of the body and soul relationship. 

1)   Some go really far towards the bodily and material: “all that is real is what is the physical world” 

2)   Others go too far to the spiritual: “everything that matters is only on the spiritual realm and what we see around us, all that is “bodily” is bad or is an illusion”

3)   and most everyone else has the problematic view that body and soul are real but almost completely unrelated – “I can do with my body whatever I want, and my soul will remain unharmed.  And I can do whatever I want on the spiritual plane, it will not affect me bodily”

That’s why St. Paul URGES the Corinthians: “Glorify God IN YOUR BODY!”

2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the most talked about encyclical of all time: Humanae Vitae

It too, like St. Paul to the Corinthians, seeks to speak to humanity about the importance of keeping the body and soul together. 

A central idea of the encyclical is that in married love, the coming together of spouses (the unitive dimension of married love) must always be linked, in every act, to the procreative dimension of married love (the openness to life)

The Church has always condemned contraceptives that, in a physical way, intervened in married love, but a new question arose with the advent of the birth control pill.  Would it be permissible for marriages to allow a chemical form of birth control?

Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical, then, and ruled that no, couples could never use chemical means of birth control either, that chemicals also serve to sever the unitive and procreative – the body and the soul of marriage

Pope Francis reaffirmed all the teachings of Humanae Vitae last year with his letter Amoris Laetitia (paragraph 80, among others)

What I’d like to look at for the moment is the prophetic nature of Humanae Vitae.  It is probably the most prophetic Church document of all time

Humanae Vitae made 4 predictions if use of the contraceptive pill became widespread in our wider culture:

1)   An increase in marital unfaithfulness and a general lowering of morality

a.      Would anyone deny that over the last 50 years that has happened?

b.     In 1968 he was mocked for worrying about this, but only a couple of years after the contraceptive pill was legalized in the United States, the divorce rate doubled, some of those divorces caused BY infidelity

2)   Objectification of women

a.      Again, many in 1968 would have asked what the worry is about?

b.     In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and so forth, would anyone deny this now?  With pornography being the number one thing the internet is used for, would anyone question his prophecy now?

3)   Governments would begin to use contraception and encourage it on their populations

a.      Surely in 1968 people probably thought he was crazy

b.     In 2018, when China and other countries have done this for years

c.      In 2018 when our own country and Canada and others have been guilty at times of tying our foreign aid to countries only if they are distributing to their people contraception.  As Mary Eberstadt rightly noted: “This spectacle of pale people in increasingly barren societies telling certain other people not to have their own children is going to look grotesque in history’s rear view mirror” Mary Eberstadt

d.     In 2018, when the Little Sisters of the Poor are still in appeals courts and are currently required to pay for contraception for people, would anyone call Pope Paul VI crazy now?

4)   People would begin thinking they have total dominion over their bodies

a.      In 1968 – what does that even mean?

b.     In 2018, when people say that if you are male, but you think you are female, then you are – that merely thinking something in your mind is enough – would anyone say that in 2018 Pope Paul VI was off the mark?

These 4 predictions – to those who mocked them 50 years ago today, Paul VI might say today “you mocked me 50 years ago, but can you hear me now?”

St. Paul said the body and the soul are one, nothing can come between them
Pope Paul said the body and soul of a marriage are one, nothing can come between them

Bishop Fulton Sheen put it this way “Nothing is more psychosomatic that the union of two in one flesh; nothing so much alters a mind, a will, for better or for worse.  The separation of soul and body is death.  THOSE WHO SEPARATE SEX AND SPIRIT ARE REHEARSING FOR DEATH.”

As we think about these warnings of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, the warnings about separating body and soul in married love, we of course have likely heard about those who have, over the last 50 years, not given their assent to the teaching.  But St. John Paul II said the following – “Humanae Vitae’s teaching on Contraception does not belong to matter that can be freely disputed among theologians.  To teach the contrary is equivalent to leading the moral conscience of spouses into error.” Address of June 5, 1987

Solution put forward by Humanae Vitae – Natural Family Planning

Again, just as the proof of the accuracy of Paul VI’s predictions are obvious and apparent, equally impressive are the positive statistics of those who utilize Natural Family Planning that Humanae Vitae proposed

1)   Natural Family Planning has a success rate of 97-99% for those who discern that they ought to abstain during fertile windows for the time being for various reasons discover in prayer before God.

2)   The divorce rate for couples using NFP is between 1-3%

May our world recapture the Christian vision of human persons as embodied souls, may we recognize the link between our bodies and souls, and thus begin again to affirm, as a culture, that our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are called, by Paul in today’s reading and also called by the Church in all Her teachings, we are called to glorify God in our bodies.

May we again be people who are able to say, in different ways, to all those we are called to love, may we say what Christ says to those HE loves: "This is my Body, given up for you!"

Read humanae vitae by clicking HERE

What to learn more about Natural Family Planning?  Click HERE 

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Catholic Reflection on the Tax Plan

The Church, in Her "Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine", has a lot to say about economics.  We could go into all of it, but perhaps the best way to say it is this:

No systemic approach to an economy, is, in and of itself, virtuous and good WITHOUT individuals within the system CHOOSING to behave virtuously

Yes, the Church says in its Compendium that Communism and Socialism are, de facto, evil and wrong.

But capitalism is described with a more cautionary tone.  Capitalism CAN lead to good things or it CAN lead to disastrous outcomes, depending on the types of individual decisions that are made by individual people within the economy.

This is where the new Trump tax plan comes in.  Without getting into the details, pretty much everyone acknowledges that it is a plan that lets corporations keep more of the money they earn.  Democrats would argue that this is because Trump wants to help his business owner friends, and Republicans would say that the plan is a great thing because when companies keep more money, they can hire more people, thus more people work.

It is important here to note that the "Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine" places a HUGE emphasis on the importance of work.  The Church emphasizes that people deserve work, should work, should be paid fairly, should be able to support a family if they are willing to work hard, and that human beings derive a great deal of healthy dignity out of working a job.

If you're still with me, then, here's the point: what we ought to be doing as Catholics with regards to this tax plan is speaking directly to the CEO's and business owners around the country, both small medium and large corporations, and encouraging them to take this tax break and actually use it to create more jobs.

Republican talking heads who are out saying lots of jobs will just naturally happen because of this new tax plan, and that business owners will just naturally choose to not pocket the money are deceiving themselves and the nation.  Capitalistic societies take vigilance by the people and REQUIRE virtuous corporate leadership in order to produce virtuous and beneficial outcomes.

Democrat talking heads who are out saying that corporate leaders will just naturally pocket the tax savings for themselves are of course making blanket assumptions and are, in a sense, encouraging that outcome by telling everyone pocketing the tax savings just HAS to happen.  It is also a blanket and judgmental statement to say that "all corporate leaders are bad and greedy people."  We ought to be thankful for those who DO virtuously use their corporate leadership to help bring about a positive impact on the people they employ.

This tax cut for companies, as with capitalisim in general, is neither good nor bad up front.  It stands at a cross roads and needs our vigilance and it needs those in corporate leadership to choose jobs over personal profit.  We pray that they choose jobs.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A metaphorical throat punch to progressive Catholics

"It is necessary to MAINTAIN THE IDEAL in its sublimity even when it may be difficult to attain these heights, even when the ordinary man feels himself incapable of doing so and therefore sinful.  The prophets of Israel and the Apostles of the Church never consented to reduce this ideal; never did they shortchange the measure of perfection or shorten the distance between the ideal and the ordinary; they never watered down the meaning of sin, but rather did everything to the contrary"
Blessed Pope Paul VI
Dialogos Con Paulo VI, (Madrid: Cristiandad, 1967) p. 428

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Science Disproves God?

We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

So it was THROUGH observing things, studying the stars, through tracking the motion of the heavenly bodies that LED these men to Christ

And yet, today, almost the opposite is happening. The number one reason for people leaving Christ is, according to survey after survey, science

So science and astronomy led the MAGI to Christ, but now science is leading a vast number of people AWAY from Christ

It is first of all important to acknowledge a problematic attempt to bridge the faith and science question, and that PROBLEMATIC RESPONSE is called Intelligent Design Theory. Intelligent design theory says that within the realms of the observable, scientifically measurable, it is possible to PROVE the existence of God.

The Church has rejected this.

But the Church goes about 98% of the way, but we stop short of saying you can PROVE God’s existence with science. You can’t say “Look at this test tube experiment or mathematical equation and you’ll see that God is real”

What the Church says, though, is that when we look around at the world, when we study the heavens, the stars, mathematics, when we look around at ourselves and we look at mathematics, physics, biology, etc. there ought to be a response in rational people – “WOW!!!”

And there also ought to be a question we ask when we engage in the things of science and look around ourselves – that question: “Where did all this come from?”
Some of course turn to things like “well, there was a big bang” – but that is not sufficient because if there was a big bang something had to do or cause the banging. You know who came up with the Big Bang Theory – a Catholic priest. And he stayed a Catholic priest after coming up with the theory. “The Big Bang Theory” was no threat to the Catholic Faith of the Catholic priest who discovered it!!!

70% of scientists are atheists today. One of the most famous is Steven Hawking. He said that there are likely lots of big bangs happening. But that is really bad science. Because saying something is likely happening is not science. And he’s still left with explaining who is doing all the banging.

How does the Church try to talk about Faith and Science? St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century put forward 5 proofs for the existence of God that are still turned to and discussed quite often.

Without getting into each of them specifically, each of the 5 takes a very similar approach. He says that if we look around and have any observational curiosity at all, then pretty quickly questions arise.

If you and I and the things of the world are in motion, who got things them moving? If you and I and the things of the world have causes, then who caused the causes? If there is order and beauty, there must be an orderer and something that is the standard of beauty.

Now, it is important to note that St. Thomas Aquinas is NOT saying these are proofs in the scientific sense – but they are proofs that lie beyond the measurable. And you and I readily acknowledge that not all things are proved WITHIN the realm of chemistry or math. If I say I love my mom, no one says “Prove it with mathematics”. If I say I love my Dad, no one says “Prove it with chemistry”… so we can know things and talk about and discuss the reality of things that lie beyond that which is scientifically knowable.

1,000 years before St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine approaches these same things poetically. He wrote the following poem about the fact that reality itself begs the question of where this all came from

“Question the beauty of the earth,
the beauty of the sea,
the beauty of the wide air around you,
the beauty of the sky;
question the order of the stars,
the sun whose brightness lights the days,
the moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night;
question the living creatures that move in the waters,
that roam upon the earth,
that fly through the air;
the spirit that lies hidden,
the matter that is manifest;
the visible things that are ruled,
the invisible things that rule them; question all these.
They will answer you: "Behold and see, we are beautiful."
Their beauty is their confession to God.
Who made these beautiful changing things,
if not one who is beautiful and changeth not?

The magi were men who stared at the sky night after night, studied the heavens, tracked the progress of the stars and planets and the sun – and that led them to Christ.

May we look around more at the world around us, at the human beings sitting next to us this morning, at the fact that we ourselves are breathing and thinking and praying and loving, and may we follow the reality of these things to their logical conclusion – may observing the heavens and the stars and all of creation put us on a journey as well – a journey that, like these astronomers we remember today – leads us to a child who is Christ the Lord